anti-TPP protests in New Zealand
A dairy farmer walks with her cow during during a protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada September 29, 2015 Reuters

Hundreds of protesters in New Zealand have gathered in front of the Governor-General's residence in Wellington as part of a nationwide anti-TPP agitation on Saturday.

Activists demand the government should come out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) ahead of its scheduled signing on February 4.

People holding placards that say "Support local, not global" and "Protect our freedoms" thronged the entrance of the government house to submit a petition signed by more 4,500 people.

Protests against the ambitious 12-nation trade pact were also to be held in Rotorua, New Plymouth, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin, New Zealand Herald reported.

The government led by Prime Minister John Key has strongly defended the pact saying various tariff reductions under the trade pact will result in the addition of $2.7 billion to the country's GDP by 2030.

Key said his government was "winning the argument" on TPP.

However, opposition to the pact has snowballed in recent weeks.

The Labour party believes the pact will breach New Zealand's sovereignty. The Green party has said the anti-TPP protests will eventually bring down the national government.

"We've been pretty clear what we won't support and we won't support anything that compromises the sovereign rights of New Zealand and the right of New Zealanders to have a Parliament and a political system that serves their interests and is accountable only to their interests," Labour leader Andrew Little said, according to Radio New Zealand.

What is TPP?

- The pact aims at radically liberalizing trade between 12 Pacific rim countries.

- The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed in October 2015 after five years of discussions and negotiations.

- The deal, which covers around 40 percent of the world economy, has to be ratified by all member countries.

- Besides New Zealand, Malaysia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei are signatories to the deal.

- Much of the opposition comes from small and medium scale businesses in various countries. In New Zealand, the Maori community has serious concerns and in Malaysia a radical Islamic opposition party is strongly against the deal.

- Under the pact some 90 percent of tariffs products such as dairy, beef, sugar, wine, rice, horticulture and seafood, manufactured products, resources and energy will be abolished.

- China, the world's second largest economy, has been left out of the deal, while countries in its sphere of influence have joined hands.

- While the US will make the most gains from the pact, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam will also get substantial benefits. In US, some economists say the pact will lead to a $131 billion jump in real incomes annually.